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ACT Research: Commercial Vehicle Demand Strongly Positioned to Start 2021

January 20, 2021, 07:00 AM
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According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, challenges facing commercial vehicle OEMs and suppliers in January 2021 are vastly different from those being addressed one year ago.

“To repurpose a phrase, commercial vehicle demand started 2020 like a lamb and left the year like a lion. At the start of 2021, the challenges for medium and heavy-duty OEMs and suppliers are flipped 180° from a year ago,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. “Where the challenge a year ago was in winding down build rates to align production with tepid demand, the industry’s challenge today is to ramp-up as rapidly as possible to meet soaring demand.” Additionally, Vieth noted, “The near-term ramp is not without challenges, however, and those include the global steel and silicon chip shortages, as well as ramping up during a pandemic.”

By commercial vehicle segment, Vieth commented, “It seems that everyone is ordering in the Class 8 segment, but the tractor market is rising at a considerably more rapid clip, if against easier year-ago comparisons, than the vocational truck side of market.” Regarding the medium-duty segment, he noted, “Order performance continues mixed across the three market components that ACT tracks, with truck orders benefitting from e-commerce demand and RVs enjoying a pandemic-related boost, although one wonders about the staying power of this phenomenon with vaccines arriving, while social distancing continues to weigh on school bus orders.”

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